The Drive for War 290


The collective shrug with which the Western media and political class noted the attempted assassination of Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico has been telling.

Can you imagine the outrage and emotion that would have been expressed by Western powers if not Fico but a pro-Ukraine, anti-Russian leader within the EU had been attacked? The new orders for weapons that would have been presented to the arms manufacturers, the troops that would have been deployed, the sabres that would have been rattled?

Instead we have the media telling us that Fico opposed sending arms to Ukraine and opposed threatening Russia. We are told he did not accept the mainstream narrative on Covid vaccinations. The media do not quite say he deserved to be shot, but they come very, very close.

Fellow EU leaders followed correct form in making statements of shock and disgust at the attack on Fico, but they were formal and perfunctory. The “not actually one of us” message was very clear.

There are now an ordered set of neoliberal beliefs to which anybody in a Western nation participating in public affairs must subscribe, or they are beyond the pale.

Not to subscribe to all of these beliefs makes you a “populist”, a “conspiracy theorist”, a “Putin puppet” or a “useful idiot”.

These are some of the “key beliefs”:

1) Wealth is only created by a small number of ultra-wealthy capitalists on whom the employment of everybody else ultimately depends.
2) The laws governing financial structures must therefore tend to concentrate wealth to these individuals, so that they may deploy it as they choose.
3) State-created currency must only be concentrated in and distributed to private financial institutions.
4) Public spending is always less efficient than private spending.
5) Russia, China and Iran pose an existential threat to the West. That comprises both an economic threat and a physical, military threat.
6) Colonialism was a boon to the world, bringing economic development, trade and education to people of inferior cultures.
7) Islam is a threat to Western values and to world development.
8) Israel is a necessary project for spreading Western values to the uncivilised Middle East.
9) Security necessitates devoting very substantial resources to arms production and the waging of continual war.
10) Nothing must threaten the military and arms industry interest. No battle against corruption or crime can override the need for the security military industrial complex to be completely unchallenged and internally supreme.

Within this architecture of belief, other orthodoxies hang dependent, such as the correct way to respond to a complex pandemic, or support for NATO and impunity for the security services. (Support for Israel is probably better portrayed as a dependent point, but with the subject of Gaza so prominent at the moment I have figuratively moved it into the main structure.)

Any deviation on any point of belief is a challenge to the entire system, and thus must be eradicated. You will note there is no room whatsoever, within this architecture of thought, for values like freedom of speech or freedom of assembly. They simply do not fit. Nor is it possible within this architecture to incorporate actual democracy, which would give people a choice of what to believe.

If you accept this architecture of thought, then you must argue that the Genocide in Gaza is a good thing, and it threatens the entire structure if you state that it is not a good thing. That is why we have witnessed the spectacle of politicians defying and then repressing their own people, willing to place all of their political capital at the service of genocidal Zionism.

Words struggle to convey the horrors we have all seen from Gaza, and in no way does it lessen the terrible suffering nor the extent of the crime to observe that it has caused a major rift in the neoliberal belief system which cannot be hidden from the people.

Gaza has ramifications leading to questioning throughout the system. Why is Tik Tok being banned, to stop people getting information on Gaza? Why is it a problem that the platform is owned by China?

What has China done that makes in an enemy? China has no military designs on the West. Of recent purchases most of us have made of physical goods, a high proportion have come from China. Why is an important trade partner an “enemy”?

Why is Russia our enemy? The notion that the Russian army is going to land on the Wash is utterly implausible. The Russian state, over centuries and wildly differing regimes, has never had the slightest desire to invade the British Isles. In the UK, under various governments, for almost three centuries charlatans have been claiming a threat of Russian invasion to justify higher defence expenditure.

Why the need to have “enemies” at all?

One designated “enemy” is David McBride. He is the latest whistleblower to be jailed for serving humanity. An Australian military lawyer, he blew the whistle on war crimes by Australian forces in Afghanistan.

Now there is no dispute that the war crimes were real. There is no dispute that they were being covered up. There is no dispute that McBride released true information that was being hidden from the public.

But that does not matter. McBride was sentenced to five and a half years for leaking documents. As is the case in both the US and UK as well as Australia, there was no public interest defence allowed in McBride’s whistleblowing.

The case is slightly complicated by the fact that McBride claimed he did not leak the documents to expose the war crimes, but rather the opposite; to prevent the heavy-handed investigation of individual soldiers. Whatever the motive, nobody has in fact faced any punishment for the war crimes revealed by McBride, while McBride is in jail for exposing them.

The slavish worship of “national security” is of course similarly at play in the case of Julian Assange, who has another court date on Monday. He has already served five years in a dreadful maximum security jail, after seven years detained in the Ecuadorean Embassy, for his exposure of extensive war crimes for which nobody has been punished. Again, no public interest defence is permitted.

I am for once hopeful that we shall see Julian free very soon. Asked to give an assurance to the court that Julian Assange will not be barred from claiming First Amendment freedom of speech rights on the grounds of his nationality, the US government has replied that he will be able to argue in court that he should not be so barred.

That is of course not the same thing.

The “rules-based order” that has replaced international law in the neoliberal mind, depends on ad hoc rules designed to enforce the neoliberal thought construct outlined above. In the International Court of Justice in South Africa vs Israel, we will witness whether the established legal system retains enough self-respect to uphold actual law against these “rules”.

At the High Court in London we shall witness the High Court of England and Wales face the same test. In the face of blatant refusal by the United States to comply with the stipulated assurances, will the High Court maintain its intellectual self-respect? Or will it bow down to the dictates of the neoliberal world order?

It is a key moment. I believe the neoliberal structure is cracking. Who can be saved?

 

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290 thoughts on “The Drive for War

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  • Adrian

    The other major element of the neo-liberal belief-system, not mentioned, is the two great fictions of orthodox macroeconomics. The myths of ‘taxpayers money” and ‘borrowing’. The ‘household budget’ view of Govt finance, the nonsense of ‘burden of debt on our grandchildren’. That there is a ‘shortage of money’ that *crocodile tears* makes investment in public services “unaffordable”. When in reality, UK Govts can no more ‘run out’ of sterling than Sainsbury’s can run out of Nectar points.

  • Jan Wiklund

    I can’t agree. Several important politicians and several important media outlets waver a lot about the ten points. The age is bad, but one shouldn’t make it look worse than it is.

    The German Social Democrats’s official view during the pre-WWI and pre-1933 age was that all except the working class was a “single reactionary mass”. That was a stupid idea, it appeared. One should have learned something from it and not repeat its follies.

  • colin buchanan

    Hi Craig,

    Would you like to speak at an antiwar rally in Glasgow planned for 29th June. speakers David Clews(UNN), myself, Glasgow against NATO Action Committee( see Facebook page, likely speaker from No2NATO/Worker’s Party and others. It would be great to have you if your in Scotland at that time! All the best,

    Colin Buchanan


    [ Mod: All else being equal, Craig might well like to speak at the rally; but it’s very unlikely he would do so, given that it’s only 5 days before the General Election – and he has an election campaign to run in Blackburn (at which we will no doubt be speaking on the same topic, with the attention of local voters).

    Maybe some other time. ]

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